Hong Kong – 3 Great Places to Visit
Last year, my wife and I were looking for a fun trip, so we made a spontaneous decision to book a short, low priced vacation to Hong Kong. After visiting and exploring the city we decided on our 3 favorite Hong Kong activities.
Since my wife and I LOVE Disney, and we think Hong Kong Disneyland is always so special, we’ve already featured our Hong Kong Disney visit in another article, Cheap Disney Tickets – Full Disney Magic!
The 3 (other) favorite places we visited in Hong Kong were:
- Ding-Ding Double Decker Trams
- Hong Kong History Museum
- Victoria Peak Tram
Ding-Ding Double Decker Trams
I am the first to admit I enjoy using trams and subways, fortunately, Hong Kong has both.
Hong Kong trams are the only double-decker trams operating transit service 7 days a week anywhere in the world. The trams ply the tracks, up and down only within the confines of Hong Kong Island (the rest of the world uses the word “tram” for a trolley or streetcar).
Trams started running in 1904. The trams run along very busy streets along the east-west spine of the island with a few branch lines. Trams at peak periods run every few minutes, often 2-3 in a row on the busy routes. As a result of the constant bell ringing from the trams which warns other road users they are coming, these streetcars are called “Ding-Ding” trams.
Our introduction to the tram was taking the “TramOramic” Tour from Causeway Bay to Western Market. I purchased slightly discounted tickets via Klook.com for a specific time. A great feature of the Tram tour is they give you a Golden Ticket, which two days unlimited travel on the trams! The printed voucher was accepted. The tour tram has an open-top deck and a closed bottom deck. Headphones are provided to plug into jacks at your seats for the audio guide.
When we boarded the tram, it was so busy and since there were no seats left upstairs, we sat downstairs. The audio guide was well done, and we learned about Hong Kong and its history and its neighborhoods. The tour includes the Happy Valley loop of the system. The staff on board were very polite and accommodating even offering to take our picture at the Western Market Terminus. Find out more about the “TramOramic” tour here.
Double Deck Trams
After lunch at Western Market, we took a regular Double Deck tram to Kennedy Town, at the western end of the line. From here we took the MTR Island Line to the eastern terminus of the trams at Shau Kei Wan. At the end of the line, we were the first to board. We ran upstairs for a front seat view for our trip back into town. We truly enjoyed the experience of going through many neighborhoods along the way. Finally, we departed the tram by our hotel in Causeway Bay.
We used the trams several times during our stay. Since we were not in a hurry, the trams were definitely a good bet they certainly required a lot less walking to where we wanted to go, unlike the MTR stops. The one thing I do not recommend is to bring luggage on the trams, as the walkways and seating aboard are tight, and can get very crowded.
To find out more of the Ding-Ding trams use this link Hong Kong Double Deck Trams
Hong Kong Museum of History
We really enjoy city history museums, and to learn how the city developed to the present day. The Hong Kong museum exceeded my expectations. It walks you through the development of Hong Kong using full-scale diorama and walk-thru exhibits.
The Hong Kong Story begins in pre-historic times. It takes you through the first settlers and how they lived. The early Chinese period through colonial time is covered extensively. There are full-size displays of theaters, festivals, and more. Video presentations are offered along the way. We spent nearly 3 hours walking through the museum. Luckily there is a small cafeteria to get a bite to eat.
Access to the museum is via a 10-minute walk from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station, exit B2 or Hung Hom station, Exit D1. Admission to the Hong Story is free. Special exhibitions do have an admission fee. Allow at least 2 hours for your visit.
You can visit the museum online at the Hong Kong Museum of History
Victoria Peak Tram
The tram is a funicular, specially designed for steep inclines. It is a cable-hauled using two trains that counter-balance each other. One going up the hill – and one going down.
The line runs up the hill from the Central neighborhood of Hong Kong, then climbs up Victoria Peak to the top. Some trips stop at intermediate stops. At the top, you exit the tram into a mini-mall. After a few escalators, you are on top of the building with 360-degree views of Hong Kong. One direction is the city and the bay; the other side is the ocean. It is all worth the price of admission. Now the crowds might be another story.
The Long Lines
I highly recommended you get to the top of Victoria Peak later in the afternoon to see the views both in the daylight as well as after sunset. They are both very different views but truly spectacular. However, wait times on busy days can be hours long, especially in the afternoon to early evening.
Pre-purchasing tickets seemed like a good option, but even that meant pretty significant long lines. Through Klook.com, I discovered a way that claimed express entry to the tram. I decided to try it and purchased two tickets for 3 pm. These tickets put you as part of a group booking!
We met up with our group leader outside an MTR entrance at Central station. Then, as a group, we walked 10 minutes to the tram terminal and waited in the group area line.
We boarded the tram within 30 minutes. By contrast, the regular lines had a 2-hour wait and cost more! Shorter wait time and a cheaper price = happy!
During our time at Victoria Peak, we spent time at the Peak Galleria rooftop.
As it was getting dark, we decided to have dinner. We choose Wildfire Grill located in the Victoria Peak tram building. It was a long wait, for about one hour. Fortunately we lucked out and were given a table by the panoramic window. We saw the nightly light show from behind the buildings, it was the ideal dinner setting.
To get back down from Victoria Peak, we took the tram again, but without being in an express group line. However, we were on the tram in about 40 minutes.
The Victoria Peak tram and enjoying the lights over dinner was the perfect evening and I would highly recommend it.
Read more bout the Victoria Peak Tram Victoria Peak Tram
Planning & Booking Our Trip & Tours of Hong Kong
We were fortunate to find a low airfare for the trip and keep all entry and tour prices low. For more on how we booked these see my article Cheap Tickets, Tours & Attractions – KLOOK
For a very detailed guide on hong Kong see Hong Kong – Your Guide & the Best Things to See & Do!
The low airfare wasn’t the only low price we booked. While booking this trip, I discovered the website Klook.com, which is an easy way to find and book activities, attractions and other things to do when you travel, including discounted tickets. Click Klook.com to see what they offer.
Transit & Transportation
If you haven’t already guessed, I am a transit enthusiast. When I can, I prefer to use local transit systems and I especially enjoy visiting transit museums. If you are into transit check out my website featuring transportation photos from all over the world at http://ktransit.com/
Mark is from New York City where his love of urban, rail-based transportation and traveling began. His career in the Semiconductor Industry requires him to travel around the world. To date, he has been to 33 countries on five continents. He enjoys planning vacations for his family and always looks for the best-valued deals. He also is into geocaching a game that uses GPS to find items that are hidden all over the world.
Like rail transit? – check out Marks website http://ktransit.com/